I recently finished reading the book “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill. It’s a bit dense, and you can tell by the vernacular that it really was written in 1934. The success of the book’s history speaks for itself though, and I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is looking to go down the rabbit hole of what truly allows a person to be successful.
One section in particular that struck me was his discussion of what Hill calls “The Six Basic Fears”. One of the fears he discusses is the fear of criticism. The other five are interesting to read about, but this particular fear resonates with me the most.
The Fear Of Criticism
I truly believe it is almost impossible to find someone who doesn’t carry some amount of the fear of criticism with them at all times. The few that don’t are the brave ones; those that have faced themselves and their darkness and found their true selves and their own sense of belonging.
For the rest of us who are striving to learn how to not care about what others think or say about us, dealing with the fear of criticism is really difficult. I’m experiencing this right now. I know of people that think I’m arrogant and that I think I know better than anyone else because I started a podcast and write blog posts.. Who am I to put my thoughts, emotions, and experiences out there for others to digest and meditate on?
I try to put that stuff aside, because it does me no good to dwell on those things. My side of the story is that I’m honestly just trying to help. I just want to share my thoughts, emotions, and experiences with others with the hope that they can encourage people who may be dealing with similar problems. That said, it’s still hurtful to hear that people can twist your intentions and talk about you behind your back.
Once I started making content for people to enjoy, think about, or maybe even be inspired by, so many things have changed about the way I view content creators. Although there are some people that have decided that I have no business doing what I am doing, there is another side to the coin. It’s everybody else.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the negative voices that speak ill of you. But I’ve also experienced countless messages of support from people who appreciate the fact that I’ve been open about some of my experiences. They are thankful for some random tip on an Instagram video that helped them solve a problem they were having. They are inspired enough by my commitment to show up for others that they want to start their own journey of sharing their thoughts, emotions, and experiences with others.
The big secret that you may not expect is that ANYONE creating content is moved and inspired when they receive positive feedback about what they are putting out into the world. Not only is it nice to know people are benefiting from our materials/products, but it helps us ignore those negative people — they aren’t our audience. And that’s ok.
Criticism vs. Impact
The fear of criticism can often lead to the creation of art or products that are “vanilla”. We don’t want to create something that will offend someone because we are afraid of the negative response; we are afraid of the criticism.
The problem with art or a product that is “vanilla” is that while it may not offend anyone, it will never have any impact on a person’s life, either. Don’t lessen the impact of the message you want to share by letting the fear of criticism control you. Believe in yourself, believe in your message, and know that if you’ve impacted even ONE life for the better then you’ve done your job.
“You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.” – Winston Churchill
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